"I just feel broken"
She knew she had said too much about the tattoo. Her name on his arm scared her, and for once she needed him to admit that they might not be forever. So when
he said he wanted one, she said they were both young and then said too much. She stood up to smoke a cigarette, leaning against the car, not noticing the sudden quiet
from him, when he said
"I just feel broken"
He stood up from the curb and walked over to her, repeating his words more to himself now then to her. "I feel broken,"
She stayed silent another moment . "What does that mean?"
"I don't know. I just didn't know this would be so hard."
"This. Being in a relationship like this."
An hour ago they were playing in the rain. She spoke:
"No one said it would be easy." A matter-of-fact tone.
"I know. I just thought. . ."
She wanted to back up, her mind almost panicking, the rush of the ugliness of the matter had been unexpected, though she knew she had brought it on. She had
wanted realism, now she wanted away from it. Her outside remained composed. She put out the cigarette, most of it unsmoked.
"We are both new to this. I mean, neither one of us has ever. . god, you know, cared about someone. We have no experience, of course it's going to be hard."
"I know. I know. I just. . ." He looked confused, sad. She would have done anything to get that look off his face.
"Well, what did you want to happen?"
"I don't know. I just wanted to love you. I didn't think. . .whatever. I don't know."
Her tone was quiet but firm "What do you want to happen?"
He stayed silent.
She spoke up again, confessing "I just get worried, you know? I get worried that it'll just be this summer. And when the driving is over and we are both home, that
will be it."
He looked at her, hurt. "How could you think that would happen? That won't happen. I love you. I couldn't just walk away. I mean, could you?"
"No. Of course not. I love you, too, but. . ."
"I don't know. It's just, you always say "forever," but then you say something like you're broken. And you tell me something that's wrong with me or say it's hard. I
mean, I , I don't know what you want."
"I told you, I just want to love you."
"It's not that easy. You know it's not."
"I know you make it not."
"Do you still love me?" she asked. "I mean, like you did before?"
A shot of pain and fear hit through her, a silent bullet you could probably see in her eyes. It's instensity surprised her. Still, she tried to look unaffected. "Oh."
"I love you more," he smiled
She breathed again, not knowing she had stopped, and, under the circumstances, not really appreciating what he had been trying to do.
"Did I scare you?" he said.
She didn't look him in the eye, a soft "yeah" escaped her.
Then he paused. "Do you still love me? I mean, like you did before?"
Still without eye contact, she nodded, "Yeah," and then looked up at him and flashed a teasing smile "more so."
He smiled. "Good." A pause. "Listen," he said. "I don't know what's going to happen. But, I do know will always love you. I mean, even if we don't make it, I will
still always love you in a way."
She smiled, looked at him- "I will always love you, too"
They hugged, held each other tight.
That was what she needed.